Sheila* has been married for 12 years. She became pregnant early in her marriage and has spent the years raising her two children, one of whom is disabled - she has no employment experience. Sheila’s husband is verbally and physically abusive. She says she became numb to the abuse as a way of dealing with his daily put-downs and periodic violence. Sheila has become estranged from her family and friends over the years as her husband succeeded in pushing everyone away. She is dependent on him for financial and health care support. Recently Sheila was encouraged by her child’s physical therapist to reach out to the Shelter for support. She is ready to start the process of changing her life, but she faces many hurdles. COVID-19 has paused her first steps by closing her opportunity for a court hearing to petition for child support. Hopefully, this is only a temporary barrier and Sheila continues to gain emotional strength through support from the Shelter’s Advocate. Like many others Sheila is a survivor and she is not about to give up.
Connie* made the long, harrowing journey from El Salvador with her two teenage daughters. Fleeing an abusive marriage and threats from local gangs Connie came to Charlottesville to find an old friend. She started work in a local factory and saved enough for a down payment on a small apartment. As much as she appreciated having a job Connie was forced to work long hours in difficult working conditions with no protection against the spread of COVID-19. Connie was also subjected to sexual harassment and threats by her supervisor. Her friend suggested she reach out to the Shelter’s Spanish-Speaking Outreach Advocate. Since making the connection Connie has been able to start the process of seeking asylum. She has found a safer job and her children are enrolled in school and doing well.
*Names have been changed. The Shelter for Help in Emergency takes confidentiality of our clients seriously, and while these facts are real, these stories are blended from experiences of several clients for anonymity.
Since 1979, the Shelter for Help in Emergency has worked to support and empower victims of domestic/intimate partner violence through a combination of trauma-informed residential and community-based outreach services, including a 24-hour hotline, emergency shelter, safety planning, information and referral, resource assistance, legal advocacy and court accompaniment, supportive counseling, outreach to the Spanish-speaking community, and programs for children and youth.
Each year through a combination of experienced staff and trained volunteers, the Shelter for Help in Emergency responds to over 1200 hotline calls, provides 5000 nights of safe shelter, and offers support services to 400 adults and children.
All services provided by the Shelter are free of charge and are designed to empower victims of abuse to become self-sufficient; to assist women and children to break the cycle of abuse; and to create a community that is more supportive of victims and holds abusers accountable for their actions.
Your donation will enable us to continue ensuring that victims of domestic violence will continue to have access to the full offering of programs and services the Shelter provides in our community!
Please help us continue the work of our mission to end domestic violence in our community. Your gift, however big or small, will have an impact and ensure that no one at risk is on this journey alone. Thank you!